(Photo by Colt Westbrook)
This time last year, I had just finished a Thanksgiving holiday that wasn't quite as I would've expected. I was adjusting to motherhood, guessing my way through breastfeeding, and living a sleep-deprived life just like all of you other new moms. It was tough. This time last year, my piano lessons started back up after a 6 week "maternity leave." 6 weeks was already over and I was supposed to resume normal life? It was hard to believe.
Because of the baby phase I was in last Thanksgiving, I was really looking forward to this year. Duke will be 13 months and it will be so enjoyable and perfect, I thought. And then that thing entered my head. That thing that reminds me, hey, you deal with anxiety now, remember? What if that comes back? That could rob you of your enjoyable and perfect holiday.
The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I was worried. I wanted it to be so many things but I knew this anxiety stuff could change everything. Fortunately, after talking through things with my counselor that week and lots of prayer, anxiety stayed away. I was able to enjoy several days of relaxed fun. And, really, that's usually the case these days. I'm usually okay. There are just moments in all of this that get hard. Thankfully, I don't physically feel the symptoms of anxiety all day every day. It's more like a fog that hangs over my head. Most of the time it's barely there, but sometimes it's so thick I can't see out.
On Sunday, I did my usual thing of not being able to hold back tears while singing. Ever since all of this happened, that's how it's been for me. Every song is fresh and means something new. Every character quality of God is magnified.
The service was centered around Thanksgiving. We sang songs and listened to stories of healing, faithfulness, and redemption. Towards the end, we each got a small card on which to write what we're thankful for. I knew my default list - Colt, Duke, family, friends, my home, financial provision, food, the gift of music. And truly, I am extremely grateful for all of that. But this year, something else was at the top of the list. And for the first time, really. I wrote this:
He has drawn me back to Him. Through a series of events, I found myself in the darkest place I'd ever been in. I was filled with fear, anxiety, panic, and trembling. God gave me revelation and showed Himself to me in a real, physical, healing way. I chose to follow Christ when I was 6 years old, but I feel like I came to Christ for the first time this year. He rescued me.
As Colt, Duke and I went on a walk that Sunday evening, we talked about this. I talked about how different life is now. As a Christian and a kid who grew up in church, I knew what I believed. But I'd never had any kind of experience where I actually needed God (or so I thought). I never felt like I was rescued by Him (or so I thought). It took my physical body rebelling against me and losing complete control for me to fully depend on Him. Because of all of this, I am changed. It's not an event that I look back on. It's not a feeling I try to conjure back up. In the words of Rich Mullins, "I did not make it, no it is making me." It's the truth and I believe it all the way down to the core of my being.
God is real, true, and good.
He is my healer, redeemer, and protector.
He is my refuge, safety, and rock.
I pray He is these things for you too.